Photo: Alejandro Valdez, Flickr Creative Commons
And I'm going to be honest. The tennis coaching thing is being more of a bitch about this than the baby. The baby isn't really causing too many problems as she seems less demanding than my son was, my wife isn't working until the fall semester, and she generally supports my athletic endeavors. The wife. Not the baby. The baby doesn't give a crap as long as she's fed and she's lying on something warm and with a heartbeat. It's gotten to the point that I've had guilty fantasies that neither of my teams make the playoffs just so I can have more time to train. At this point, I only have 2 and a half months to finish preparing for my first Olympic-distance event and if the boys team, which is likely to go farther in the playoffs, manages to drag this out, I could conceivably have only a month to really focus on training. While this year's training plan has made me second-guess my original plans of completing a half Iron Man next year and an Iron Man the year after that, I know for sure that I'd have to resign from my coaching position if I had any hope of succeeding.
The title of today's post also refers to my next goal in sports fandom. Remember back in the fall when I talked about choosing a new hockey team to follow after the Thrashers left Atlanta to be the Jets in Winnipeg? I ended up going with Chicago as my new team and it's generally been a successful experiment. Early on I had trouble when they played Winnipeg or against teams who took players from the Thrashers recently of falling into cheering for familiar names, but as the season has wound down, I find myself defaulting to the 'Hawks even when they're playing Winnipeg. I think it's safe to say that the 'Hawks are officially the only sports team from Georgia that I care about outside of the New Zealand All Blacks (rugby union). Sure, it helps that the team has been good this year and will be in the playoffs (possibly even with home ice in the first round), but I was able to maintain interest even during that disastrous stretch between January 2 and February 14 when they went 5-11-3, including a 9-game losing streak.
The Great Hockey Fandom Experiment of '11-'12 has been a success, but summer's getting here and the playoffs won't last forever, even if the 'Hawks end up hoisting the Stanley Cup. I need a summer sport and baseball's still too slow for me. I've decided I'm going to try giving soccer another chance. I'm going to see if I can work out a way to follow the Portland Timbers this year. I saw part of their season opener and was amazed by the atmosphere created by the Timbers Army in Jeld-Wen Stadium. Fan enthusiasm is what hooked me with the All Blacks, so it'll be the likely hook for me with the MLS. The main problem is catching the games. I was worried about this with the Blackhawks, but I was able to record the replay of the each game in the wee hours after the live game on my regional sports channels and was probably able to follow 3/4 of the games this season. From an early look at the TV schedule, I think I can do the same with Portland. We'll see how this works. It's possible that I'm just to old to get soccer. Maybe you have to be infected as a kid for this sport.